Bounty hunters at Saratoga mill



Courtesy photo Nate Horn cheeses for the camera while fugitive recovery agent Michale O. takes Horn into custody.

Fugitive recovery agents, more popularly known as "bounty-hunters" were in Saratoga two weeks ago looking for what they call a "skip" at the Saratoga Forest Management (Saratoga Mill). The skip, Nate Horn, who had moved from Port Angeles, Wash., to Saratoga in November to work at Saratoga Mill.

Unfortunately, Horn had some unfinished business back in Washington where he'd been arrested for a suspended license charge. Horn's fiancé had signed a bond agreement with A-Plus Bail Bonds so that he wouldn't have to spend any time in jail.

While he was out on bail, Horn got a job offer from the Saratoga Mill. That's when Horn and his fiancé packed up and moved to Saratoga to start work.

According to Horn, he had taken care of the suspended license, but when his court date arrived Horn's lawyer failed to show up.

"I went back (to Washington) over Christmas to spend some time and because I had a court date on the 24th, but my lawyer didn't appear," Horn said.

Horn states that he was never "hiding out" or attempting to "skip bail". In fact, Horn states that he was communicating with the courts and the bail bond company about his move and his new job.

"I was in touch with the bondsman up until about a month ago ... I told him that after I had written the court a letter, telling them what my situation was, that I would get back a hold of him. Well, I never got a response back from the courts for the letter, so I didn't get a hold of (the bail bondsman) and I've been busy working, so he sent the dogs out."

The "dogs" were actually fugitive recovery agents from Wyoming Fugitive Investigations (WFI), run by Donna and Michael O. out of Cheyenne.

Michael O. has been in the fugitive recovery business for nearly 17 years and according to his wife Donna leads a team with backgrounds in military police, special operations and corrections.

Donna and Michael usually work exclusively with Freedom Fighters Bail Bonds, but when they received a call from their peers in Port Angeles, Wash., to help find Horn, they decided to help out.

Donna O. explained that when people are arrested they can contact a bail bondsman to provide the "cash surety" to cover the bail bond amount. This means that the bail bondsman is responsible financially for the fugitive who borrowed the bail money and that bondsmen have the right to bring a fugitive back into custody if they fail to show up for their court date. That's where fugitive recovery agents come in. Michael O. prefers to be called a fugitive recovery agent rather than a bounty-hunter because even though bounty-hunter has become the popular term, it is inaccurate because bounty-hunting comes from the 1800s when anyone could walk into the post office and see a wanted poster and go bounty-hunting, whereas a fugitive recovery agent has to be contracted directly by a bail bondsman.

The morning of March 19, Michael O, his wife Donna and one other fugitive recovery agent drove into town and notified Deputy Kevin Shue of the Carbon County Sheriff's office that they were looking for Horn. Deputy Shue accompanied the agents to the Saratoga Mill where Donna found Horn and took him into custody.

"They drove me up to (my fiancé's) work and let me say goodbye and then they drove me straight to Rawlins," Horn said.

Although Horn is frustrated about the situation, he has nothing but nice things to say about Donna and Michael's team from Wyoming Fugitive Investigations. "They were actually really cool people ... They were professionals," Horn said.

The agents got a motel room where they and Horn would stay the night to wait for the Washington state bondsmen that were driving down to take Horn back for his court date. " After we got to the motel they took the cuffs off, bought me a pack of cigarettes and a case of beer," Horn said.

"If you treat us with respect, we treat you with respect, " Donna said, of WFI's attitude toward fugitives.

Horn made his appearance in court over the weekend and was back in Saratoga at work by March 23.


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